Preventive measures are essential for healthy communities. Indeed, as the adage goes, “prevention is better than cure.” Pneumococcal disease is an infection that causes pneumonia, meningitis, and bloodstream infections. It is a significant concern for adults aged 65 and older and other vulnerable populations such as smokers (Nelson, 2012). Despite the availability of effective vaccines, the pneumococcal vaccination rates among patients aged 65 and above have remained suboptimal. This presentation highlights a project undertaken by the Gotham Health Community Healthcare Clinic in Greenpoint to address this issue. The project’s objective is to improve pneumococcal vaccination status in the 65-year-old and older population. Specifically, by December 31st, 2023, Gotham primary care team will decrease the number of patients 65+ y/o without documentation of their pneumococcal vaccination status by 5% from baseline by utilizing new educational material in the patients’ preferred language.
Change Ideas and Project Drivers
The project’s change ideas will ensure a multipronged approach to enhance pneumococcal vaccination rates in the target population. The ideas include:
- PCP will order missing immunizations using CDC guidance- This idea will facilitate a systematic approach to ordering missing vaccinations. It will reduce the chances of oversight and increase vaccination rates.
- Using an updated patient education booklet- Providing patients with an up-to-date educational resource empowers them to make informed decisions about pneumococcal vaccination.
- Education sessions in patients’ preferred language- Offering education in patients’ preferred languages will overcome communication barriers and ensure all members of the community easily understand the information.
The project is catalyzed by primary and secondary drivers. The primary drivers are at the center of the clinic’s efforts. They are the basis of the project and will ensure that accurate records are maintained and that patients are involved in their healthcare decisions. The secondary drivers complement the primary drivers. They provide the means to identify and engage patients while eliminating language barriers. The drivers work together to achieve the vaccination improvement goals.
The Conceptional Framework
This is an important element of the project. It is based on three pillars: information campaigns, prioritization of vaccination schemes, and primary care-based interventions. Information Campaigns focus on educational materials and communication strategies to disseminate information about vaccination. Prioritization of vaccination schemes involves decision-making tools, checklists, and protocols to ensure vaccines reach priority groups efficiently. Primary care-based interventions utilize existing healthcare relationships to promote vaccination. They include reminder systems, financial incentives, and non-confrontational vaccine discussions.
Like other projects adopted by Gotham Health Community Healthcare Clinic, this initiative prioritizes an equitable approach. The patient population is evenly distributed, with 50% male and 50% female, to ensure gender equity. Language preference diversity is addressed with 13% Russian, 25% English, 25% Polish, 25% Spanish, and 12% Chinese Mandarin-speaking patients. The project is committed to offering equitable healthcare services.
The project encountered various challenges. Vaccine hesitancy among certain patients was addressed through extensive educational efforts. Diverse language preferences within the population necessitated additional resources for multi-language support. Vaccine distribution and increased workload strained personnel as they had to work extended hours to meet demand.
Successes, Lessons Learned, and the Next Steps
The project achieved noteworthy success. Enhanced education efforts raised awareness and led to higher vaccination rates. Consequently, the clinic has higher vaccination rates among the target population and is assured of meeting the 5% target discussed previously. The project was an eye-opener for the clinic. The leadership and nursing personnel gained multiple lessons that they can apply in subsequent initiatives. The facility will be better equipped to handle future projects and improve patient outcomes.
Nelson, G. (2012). Pneumococcal pneumonia and pandemic H1N1. Emerging Infectious Diseases.